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  1. After the divisive Democratic National Committee chair election, what’s next?

    March 1, 2017 by tkociemba

    After the divisive Democratic National Committee chair election, what’s next?

     

    Tom Perez triumphed over Keith Ellison for the position of DNC chair. Has the damaged party made the right move? Our commentators give their verdict

     

    Jill Abramson: ‘Does the party have to hit bottom to recover?’

     

    The Wall Street Journal hammered him. Breitbart News labeled him “the most radical Cabinet member since Henry Wallace”, who was so far to the left that Franklin Roosevelt dumped him from the Democratic ticket in 1944. He rejuvenated the civil rights division of the justice department, taking action against racist voter suppression efforts and initiating investigations of police abuse. He was Ted Kennedy’s civil rights counsel. How could the victory of a man with these credentials be judged a defeat for progressives?

    Only inside the weakened, fractured Democratic party, which has always had a fatal attraction for circular firing squads. Tom Perez, winner of the Democratic National Committee’s chairmanship, inherits the job at a particularly difficult time. Because he jumped into the race after Bernie Sanders had endorsed Keith Ellison, the first Muslim member of Congress and an early Sanders backer, Perez was caricatured as the establishment candidate. It’s true that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton preferred him, but the former labor secretary, who won backtime pay and extended overtime for workers, is any sane person’s definition of a progressive.

     

    Still, the narrative of a bitter split between Sanders Democrats and establishment Democrats has taken hold. Any long-term intraparty strife is an unneeded distraction and badly timed energy-suck. Democrats are in retreat almost everywhere, with minority status in both congressional chambers, only 16 governors’ offices and majorities in only 31 of 99 state legislatures. Most worrisome, they will have more than 25 Senate seats at risk in 2018.

    Some Sanders supporters and former campaign workers are talking about launching primary challenges to moderate Democratic senators, just as the Tea Party decimated incumbent moderate Republicans. I understand that the Trump trauma and Clinton’s unexpected loss has Democrats in a swivet. But does the party have to hit bottom to recover? We will soon see. The Sanders wing is right that the best place to start rebuilding is not in Washington but at the local and state levels. There have been Sanders takeovers in the states of Washington, Hawaii and Nebraska, and grassroots winds are blowing stronger – all healthy developments for Democrats.

    But the health of the national party can’t be ignored, something that Perez and Ellison both recognize, which is why they will try to work together as a team. They see clearly that they share progressive values and need strategic wins. Most important, Democrats need strength to save their country from authoritarian rule by an unbalanced president. It would be wise if the party’s base followed their example.

     

     

    Kate Aronoff: ‘An unbelievably stupid call’

     

    Progressives’ battle for the soul of the Democratic party was not won or lost when Tom Perez became the Democratic National Committee’s new chairman this weekend. But it did suffer a blow.

    By choosing to run Perez in the first place against Keith Ellison – a longtime community organizer and the first Muslim member of Congress –the party’s higher-ups made an unbelievably stupid call. In voting for him, picking a deliberate fight with the left over a largely symbolic office, they have risked alienating the only people capable of keeping the Democratic party from stumbling into irrelevance.

    The party is in disrepair. Democrats have lost over 1,000 seats at the state and national level since 2009, including one they should have won by a landslide in 2016: the White House. Its best hope at remaining a force under Trump lies with its activist base, which backed Bernie Sanders in the primaries, Ellison in the leadership fight and is now leading the resistance to Trump in the streets. Whether to follow the party’s leftmost flank is a question that has far more to do with strategy than ideology. Clintonite politics are broken. To beat Trump and take back power, Democrats need something new.

    If there is a silver lining to the leadership race, it is that Ellison’s bid helped clarify the fault lines within the Democratic party. On one side, its establishment: Clinton backers and former White House insiders, along with billionaire donors like Haim Saban, who I believe fuelled a racist and Islamophobic campaign against Ellison with which party elites were more than happy to play along. On the other is the resistance: longtime Sanders supporters, but also several new faces, from major unions like SEIU and the AFT to Democratic fixtures like Chuck Schumer.

    Perez might be in charge of the DNC, but leaders like Ellison are the Democrats’ future – at least, if they want to survive.

     

    Daniel José Camacho: ‘Resistance will have to continue against the Democratic establishment’

     

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/feb/27/democratic-national-committee-election-tom-perez-keith-ellison

     

    Tom Kociemba


  2. Trump’s pledge to “start winning wars again” is ignorant and delusional — and highly dangerous

    March 1, 2017 by tkociemba

    Trump’s pledge to “start winning wars again” is ignorant and delusional — and highly dangerous

     

    Trump’s detour into war nostalgia suggests a profound ignorance of history and no understanding of the world.

     

    President Donald Trump is his own worst enemy. Whenever we see him lashing out at critics, be they news anchors or celebrities, he’s never really damaging the reputation of anyone other than himself. What we’ve witnessed so many times since June 2015, and certainly before then as well, is a man without an internal censor. Often people who don’t know what they’re going to say until they say it are people who have tasked themselves with being professional provocateurs. Howard Stern, for example, has made a killer living for himself by short-circuiting the part of his brain that tells him, Don’t say that! Anything but that!

     

     

    Trump is similar, though his process doesn’t appear to be deliberate. He simply can’t help himself. For example, it’s not entirely a matter of honesty when he says something like “the leaks are real but the reporting is fake.” He’s blurting something that is accidentally honest (the part about the leaks being real) even though he didn’t intend to. If Trump were just in celebrity game-show host mode, it wouldn’t be a problem. Now that he somehow got himself president, though, with all of the accompanying expectations and responsibilities, his spontaneous verbal unspoolings come off as disengaged at best and globally dangerous at worst.

    Regarding the latter, Trump recited prepared remarks about his budget proposal on Monday morning during a meeting at the White House with state governors. But as always, he took wild detours during the speech, veering off into word-salad territory: his usual cocktail of self-interruptions and glitchy-sounding repetitions of superlative boasts.

    Except this time he indulged himself in a digression about the U.S. military and America’s recent record on warfare. His people seriously need to rein him in on this topic (and many others for that matter). After all, in past remarks about this topic, he’s veered into both vague and not-so-vague threats about nuclear weapons or preferring war heroes who “weren’t captured.” This latest episode was no different.

    Trump began by using the troops as a selling point for greatly augmenting military spending, “We must ensure that our courageous servicemen and women have the tools they can be [sic] to deter war, and when called upon to fight in our name, only do one thing: Win.” Fine.

    But then the president started improvising, and that’s when the whole thing careened off the rails: “We have to win,” he began. “We have to start winning wars again. I have to say, when I was young, in high school and college, everybody used to say we never lost a war. We never lost a war. You remember, some of you were right there with me. You remember: America never lost.”

    We have to start winning wars again? Well, in order to start winning wars, we have to engage in wars, and it sounds as if Trump has a rather breezy attitude about that prospect — especially for a guy with five draft deferments (four for college and one for an alleged bone spur).

     

     

     

    http://www.salon.com/2017/02/28/trumps-pledge-to-start-winning-wars-again-is-ignorant-and-delusional-and-highly-dangerous/

     

     

    Tom Kociemba


  3. More guns, less butter: Trump’s EPA, school lunches to see cuts, while defense spending will rise

    March 1, 2017 by tkociemba

    More guns, less butter: Trump’s EPA, school lunches to see cuts, while defense spending will rise

     

    Trump plans to slash the social safety net while pushing the defense budget more.

     

    President Donald Trump — who has prioritized his refusal to believe in the scientific fact of climate change from the moment he took office — is likely going to try to increase the defense budget by gutting Environmental Protection Agency funding.

     

     

    The Trump administration is expected to submit its first draft budget numbers to Cabinet officials on Monday, according to Axios. One of the main policy goals of their new budget will be to significantly cut the EPA’s budget, with a particular focus on the climate change programs of which Trump has long been a vocal skeptic. The expectation, according to Axios, is that he will use the savings from the EPA to increase spending on the military.

    The new budget will also avoid any spending cuts to Social Security and Medicare programs, according to Bloomberg. This is consistent with the promises that Trump made throughout his presidential campaign, although it contradicts the budgetary goals of Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s pick to head the Office of Management and Budget.

     

    Trump’s emphasis on military spending was most recently foreshadowed in his speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference last week.

    “We’re also putting in a massive budget request for our beloved military,” Trump told the gathered attendees. “We will be substantially upgrading all of our military, all of our military, offensive, defensive, everything, bigger and better and stronger than ever before. And hopefully, we’ll never have to use it, but nobody’s gonna mess with us, folks, nobody.”

    There are also concerns that a federal program which provides free or reduced-price school lunches to low-income children may be on the chopping block. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos joked to CPAC about being the “first person to tell Bernie Sanders to his face, there’s no such thing as a free lunch,” and while she may have claimed that was meant in jest, the comment becomes ominous in light of Republican efforts to gut that program as recently as last year.

    Matthew Rozsa is a breaking news writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and his work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    http://www.salon.com/2017/02/27/more-guns-less-butter-trumps-epa-school-lunches-to-see-cuts-while-defense-spending-will-rise/

     

     

     

    Tom Kociemba


  4. Who Invented Trump’s ISIS Plan? Obama.

    March 1, 2017 by tkociemba

     

     

    Who Invented Trump’s ISIS Plan? Obama.

     

    Trump ordered up a whole new plan to beat ISIS. Instead he got a rough sketch that strongly resembles what was drawn up under Obama.

     

    The Team Trump plan to defeat ISIS is more like a loose diagram—with most of the options previously pondered by the Obama administration, according to three officials who have read drafts of the plan that was officially discussed at the White House Monday.

    The lack of many new options stems from the hard fact that defeating armed insurgent groups takes more than “bombing the hell” out of them, as President Donald Trump pledged on the campaign trail. It also shows that Trump may have been over-ambitious in mandating a brand-new strategy be delivered a little over a month after taking office, when many of the top posts across the Pentagon, the intelligence community and the State Department remain unfilled.

    So key parts of the plan to destroy the so-called Islamic State sound familiar. They include militarily defeating the existing fighters in Iraq and Syria; hunting down other groups pledged to ISIS; drying up the financial resources enabling ISIS to fight and recruit; and defeating the ideology that makes the group attractive, those three officials tell The Daily Beast.

     

    Options for setting up safe zones inside Syria to protect civilians are also included in the plan, but those proposals are even more fraught with risk than they were when considered by President Barack Obama, as there are now more Syrian regime forces backed by Russia and Iran getting ever closer to the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa in the south—and more Turkish forces on the battlefield who have at time targeted the U.S.’s Kurdish allies.

    The main changes to the current plan would likely come in the form of breaking some old alliances and making news ones. Trump officials have spoken disparagingly of some of the Syrian fighters the Obama administration supported, calling them riddled with ISIS and al Qaeda sympathizers. Turkey is trying to pry the U.S. away from its Syrian Kurdish proxy force, and Trump himself has talked of fighting ISIS together with Russia, though the Pentagon is not ready to cooperate with Moscow.

    The ISIS plan evolved until the very last moment when Defense Secretary Jim Mattis sent it to the White House, ahead of the Monday meeting of senior agency heads to discuss how to flesh it out. Mattis wanted to make sure it was circulated widely through the Pentagon and beyond, to avoid a travel ban-style backlash from agencies who felt left out of the loop, the officials said. All the senior officials discussing it at the White House Monday had reviewed previous versions or taken part in the drafting process.

    But major vacancies at key agencies like Treasury meant staffers writing the document didn’t know how far to take it, one said. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was not confirmed until halfway through the drafting process. The official said they couldn’t get ready answers to questions like “How will you target ISIS finances’ differently than President Barack Obama did?” or “How hard will you push Congress to widen U.S. authority to go after ISIS, ala the President George W. Bush authorization to hunt al Qaeda?

    The officials describing the frenzied process of coming up with a plan spoke anonymously, and were careful not to describe too many details, because of their fear of retribution by the leak-hunting Trump administration.

    The mixed messages on foreign policy coming out of the White House versus what Trump’s officials say in the field only added to the confusion, which explains why chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Joseph Dunford called the document a “framework” in remarks at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., last week.

     

     

     

     

     

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/02/27/who-invented-trump-s-isis-plan-obama.html

     

     

    Tom Kociemba


  5. Why Paul Ryan is just Donald Trump in better wrapping

    March 1, 2017 by tkociemba

     

    Why Paul Ryan is just Donald Trump in better wrapping

     

    The speaker of the House poses as a moderate in comparison to Trump. In reality, he’s paving the way for the president’s cruelest policies.

     

    N

    early all the oxygen and outrage in DC is being sucked up by Donald Trump and his outrageous executive orders. But let’s not forget about the man without whom Trump could not accomplish his larger agenda: the spineless speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, Trump’s mainstream defender and apologist at every turn.

    Ryan, who has cultivated a sham image as the “reasonable” Republican for years, has backed virtually all of Trump’s most controversial and cruel policies. Ryan manages to never buck Trump on anything of significance, while getting publicity for meaningless, quasi-critical statements. He is the biggest fraud in American politics.

     

    That much was clear yet again over the weekend, as the New York Times’ Jim Rotenberg reported that Ryan’s office “declined to engage” with him on any questions about Trump’s despicable war on the press, which even Republicans who haven’t dared to break with Trump on much of anything decried as a move befitting a dictator. Instead, Rotenberg wrote, Ryan’s office said it “disputed the premise of the question”.

    It’s just one in a long line of cowardly and slimy moves by Ryan, who is really just Trump in a more aesthetically appealing wrapper.

     

    Commentators fell over themselves to heap praise on him back in May 2016 when he hesitated for a few days to endorse Trump after it became clear the controversial Republican candidate would become the party’s nominee. Ryan was portrayed as brave and courageous, when it was blindingly obvious at the time that he would quickly find an excuse to back Trump, which he did only a few days later.

    After his endorsement, Ryan received more plaudits by calling Trump’s comments about a judge of Mexican heritage overseeing the lawsuit against Trump University “racist”. Of course Trump being racist didn’t change any of Ryan’s actual actions, and in his next breath explained he continued to support Trump’s candidacy over that of Hillary Clinton. Then, when Trump attacked the legitimacy of another judge after he assumed office – this time over her ruling against the Muslim ban – guess who came to his defense? Paul Ryan.

    Again, to great praise during the campaign, Ryan claimed he “rejected” Trump’s controversial proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States. Yet as soon as Trump banned all refugees from around the world and all immigrants from seven majority Muslim countries – clearly the “Muslim ban” he had promised – Paul Ryan was one of the first Republicans to defend it. Similarly, the supposedly “fiscally conservative” Ryan, who always managed to sound “reasonable” when talking about the rights of immigrants, immediately promised to pay for Trump’s ridiculous waste-of-money border wall as soon as he was sworn into office.

    The examples are limitless. When Trump’s national security adviser Michael Flynn was forced to resign after lying to the public and the vice-president two weeks ago, it was Paul Ryan who stepped in and said there was no need for Congress to investigate the incident or provide any more transparency. No matter the controversy, it is virtually guaranteed that telegenic and slippery Ryan will be there, using his clean-cut image to tamp down criticism of the increasingly unstable president.

    Make no mistake: there is no daylight between Ryan and Trump. They are one and the same. The question is, when will everyone stop falling for his act?

     

     

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/feb/27/paul-ryan-donald-trump-enabler

     

     

    Tom Kociemba


  6. The NRA’s new gun-sales pitch: America is a war zone and the “violent left” is coming for you

    March 1, 2017 by tkociemba

     

    The NRA’s new gun-sales pitch: America is a war zone and the “violent left” is coming for you

     

     

    Wayne LaPierre’s fantasies of “violent leftists” may sell more guns and will surely encourage more violence.

     

    If there’s anyone who can be counted on to “out-Trump” Donald Trump, it’s Wayne LaPierre, the CEO and executive vice president of the National Rifle Association. LaPierre’s speech on Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference was a masterpiece of conspiracy theory-style paranoia, race baiting and horrific fantasies, painting the American landscape as a war zone of crime and terror that can be survived only by those who armor up like they’re going to war.

     

     

    And, of course, all this pointed to one inescapable conclusion for the conservative CPAC audience, the conclusion to which all NRA gun marketing, er, Second Amendment defenses must point: Buy more guns.

    Hearing LaPierre’s speech, you’d think that the CPAC attendees were going to have to shoot their way out of the convention like the survivors in a zombie apocalypse movie. He painted a dark picture of the country, where the “leftist media” and the “violent left” are in bed with criminals, drug dealers and terrorists to intimidate patriotic conservatives. Of course, the only way for conservatives to be safe is to hand over more money to gun manufacturers.

    “The truth is, the far left — they’ve turned protesting into what seems like a full-time profession,” said LaPierre. “Seriously, you would think that for $1,500 a week, they would at least know what they are protesting,” he added, referencing the current right-wing hypothesis that anti-Trump protesters can only be paid provocateurs. “Folks, our long nightmare — it may not be over. The fact is, it may be just beginning. Right now, we face a gathering of forces that are willing to use violence against us.”

    The NRA spent more than $50 million on last year’s elections, and that amounted to 96 percent of its outside spending. Most of that, more than $30 million, went to back Trump’s campaign. All this investment seemingly paid off, with the election of Trump and almost every other Republican candidate backed by the gun lobby. But LaPierre is not happy. Instead, he argued in his CPAC speech that things are somehow worsening for right-wing America, which now supposedly faces mortal danger.

    http://www.salon.com/2017/02/28/the-nras-new-gun-sales-pitch-america-is-a-war-zone-and-the-violent-left-is-coming-for-you/

    Tom Kociemba

     

     


  7. GOP Intel chair Burr under fire over ties to Trump

    February 28, 2017 by tkociemba

    GOP Intel chair Burr under fire over ties to Trump

     

    The senator running the Russia probe was a vocal Trump campaign backer, once boasting he sicced the FBI on Hillary Clinton.

     

    On the campaign trail last fall, GOP Sen. Richard Burr told North Carolina voters there was no “separation” between himself and Donald Trump. The Senate Intelligence Committee chairman also bragged about his role in getting the FBI to investigate Hillary Clinton’s emails.

    Now, the third-term senator is under fire for running interference for the White House last week on a news report asserting repeated contacts between Trump’s campaign and Moscow. And some Democrats are wondering whether Burr, who also served as a national security adviser to Trump’s campaign, is too close to Trump to lead an impartial investigation.

     

    These Democrats are weighing whether to be more vocal about their concerns in a bid to pressure GOP leaders to create a more independent select committee or outside commission to handle the investigation.

    Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Monday that Burr had been put “on notice” by Democrats and that his decision to help the White House rebut negative news stories “certainly gives the appearance, if not the reality, of a lack of impartiality.” Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, said over the weekend he had “grave concerns” about Burr’s conduct.

    Even two intelligence committee Republicans — Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Susan Collins of Maine — made statements over the weekend that the investigation must be seen as credible. Collins said members of the panel must “avoid any actions that might be perceived as compromising the integrity of our work.

     

    Burr’s allies, though, defend him as a man of integrity perfectly suited for the task ahead.

    “I know him to be honest, and I know him to be thorough,” said John Bryant, a lawyer in Raleigh who’s been friends with Burr since they played football together at Wake Forest. “I don’t think it would be a political problem if coming down hard on [Trump] is the right thing to do.”

    Paul Shumaker, a North Carolina political consultant who ran Burr’s successful campaign last year for a third term, said Burr does not plan to run for reelection again and has been freed from political considerations as he pursues the truth behind Russia’s involvement in the presidential election.

    “He is independent of the shackles of a reelection campaign,” Shumaker said of the laid-back senator, famous on Capitol Hill for driving a beat-up 1974 Volkswagen Thing.

    Shumaker added that Burr puts his job as intelligence chairman above anything else, including politics — a reference to the heat Burr took last year for doing little campaigning until the final month before Election Day, even though his race was expected to be close

     

    http://www.politico.com/story/2017/02/richard-burr-donald-trump-north-carolina-235319

     

    Tom Kociemba

    GOP Intel chair Burr under fire over ties to Trump

     

    The senator running the Russia probe was a vocal Trump campaign backer, once boasting he sicced the FBI on Hillary Clinton.

     

    On the campaign trail last fall, GOP Sen. Richard Burr told North Carolina voters there was no “separation” between himself and Donald Trump. The Senate Intelligence Committee chairman also bragged about his role in getting the FBI to investigate Hillary Clinton’s emails.

    Now, the third-term senator is under fire for running interference for the White House last week on a news report asserting repeated contacts between Trump’s campaign and Moscow. And some Democrats are wondering whether Burr, who also served as a national security adviser to Trump’s campaign, is too close to Trump to lead an impartial investigation.

     

    These Democrats are weighing whether to be more vocal about their concerns in a bid to pressure GOP leaders to create a more independent select committee or outside commission to handle the investigation.

    Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Monday that Burr had been put “on notice” by Democrats and that his decision to help the White House rebut negative news stories “certainly gives the appearance, if not the reality, of a lack of impartiality.” Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, said over the weekend he had “grave concerns” about Burr’s conduct.

    Even two intelligence committee Republicans — Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Susan Collins of Maine — made statements over the weekend that the investigation must be seen as credible. Collins said members of the panel must “avoid any actions that might be perceived as compromising the integrity of our work.

     

    Burr’s allies, though, defend him as a man of integrity perfectly suited for the task ahead.

    “I know him to be honest, and I know him to be thorough,” said John Bryant, a lawyer in Raleigh who’s been friends with Burr since they played football together at Wake Forest. “I don’t think it would be a political problem if coming down hard on [Trump] is the right thing to do.”

    Paul Shumaker, a North Carolina political consultant who ran Burr’s successful campaign last year for a third term, said Burr does not plan to run for reelection again and has been freed from political considerations as he pursues the truth behind Russia’s involvement in the presidential election.

    “He is independent of the shackles of a reelection campaign,” Shumaker said of the laid-back senator, famous on Capitol Hill for driving a beat-up 1974 Volkswagen Thing.

    Shumaker added that Burr puts his job as intelligence chairman above anything else, including politics — a reference to the heat Burr took last year for doing little campaigning until the final month before Election Day, even though his race was expected to be close

     

    http://www.politico.com/story/2017/02/richard-burr-donald-trump-north-carolina-235319

     

    Tom Kociemba


  8. Bernie Sanders Just Shut Down Trump With A Brutal Reality Check

    February 28, 2017 by tkociemba

    Bernie Sanders Just Shut Down Trump With A Brutal Reality Check

     

    If President Donald Trump is in need of an ego boost on Saturday, Twitter may not be the place to find it.

    The president was slapped with a scalding reality check, compliments of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), after suggesting his supporters have their own rally.

    “It would be the biggest of them all!” Trump proclaimed on Twitter Saturday.

     

    Exciting idea, except that Trump had a rally just last month, for Inauguration Day, as Sanders reminded him.

    “They did. It wasn’t,” Sanders smartly snapped.

     

    Sanders, backing up his pointed statement, shared side-by-side photos showing Trump’s patchy inauguration crowd compared with what appears to be the Women’s March on Washington, which took place a day later.

    Crowd-counting experts have said the women’s march drew three times more people than Trump’s swearing-in.

    Adding some sizzle to Sanders’ burn, Trump’s tweet got 83,000 likes and 19,000 retweets as of Saturday afternoon, which may seem “yuge,” but not compared with Sanders, whose tweet earned 152,000 likes and 61,000 retweets.

    Ouch.

     

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/bernie-sanders-just-shut-down-trump-in-the-most-hilarious-way_us_58b1c462e4b060480e0879c5

     

    Tom Kociemba


  9. ‘Party for the people’? Democrats seek Perez unity but doubters are vocal

    February 28, 2017 by tkociemba

    ‘Party for the people’? Democrats seek Perez unity but doubters are vocal

     

    Former labor secretary and main rival Keith Ellison – seen as representing the establishment and party activists respectively – must work to win over base.

     

    Moments after former labor secretary Tom Perez narrowly defeated Representative Keith Ellison in a battle to lead the Democratic party, the rivals appeared together at a press conference in downtown Atlanta. Pinned to his suit jacket, Ellison wore a blue “Team Tom” button. Perez wore a green “Keith for DNC” button.

     

    The message was clear: the Democratic party would leave the city a united front. But the show of unity papered over anger that had erupted when Donna Brazile, interim chair of the Democratic National Committee, announced that Perez would be her successor.

    “Party for the people, not big money!” a group of Ellison supporters chanted from the back of the hotel ballroom. When the jeering subsided and Perez was able to speak, he moved immediately to name Ellison as deputy chairman.

    The room erupted in cheers. But the episode did not dispel a sense among Ellison supporters that Democrats had missed an opportunity to change course after years of election losses, especially at the state and local level.

     

    “It looks bleak right now,” said Jean Ross, co-president of National Nurses United. Several members of the union came to Atlanta to cheer on Ellison, wearing their red scrubs.

    “We thought we had a real chance to turn this party around. But apparently the old guard is willing to continue a losing streak.”

    The balloting went on for two rounds. Perez, who was considered as Hillary Clinton’s running mate, came up one vote short on the first ballot. He secured a clear lead on the second, with 235 of 435 votes. The party’s ascendant activist base showed its strength with 200 votes for Ellison, the first Muslim member of Congress and an experienced grassroots activist.

     

    But after Bernie Sanders’ bruising primary loss to Clinton last spring, progressives were frustrated on Saturday that they had failed to wrest power from what in their view are Washington insiders, party elites and donors.

    Jim Dean, chair of Democracy for America, called the election “incredibly disappointing” and “another missed opportunity for a Democratic party desperately trying to regain relevance”.

    The Working Families party national director, Dan Cantor, said Ellison was “uniquely qualified to transform that anger and fear into political power and organization” and predicted the result “may sting for progressives, particularly young people”.

     

     

     

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/feb/26/democrat-national-committee-tom-perez-analysis

     

     

    Tom Kociemba


  10. The Father Of The SEAL Slain In Yemen Demands An Investigation

    February 28, 2017 by tkociemba

    The Father Of The SEAL Slain In Yemen Demands An Investigation

     

    “Don’t hide behind my son’s death.”

     

    The father of the Navy SEAL killed in a botched Yemen raid last month wants an investigation into the White House-ordered operation that claimed his son’s life.

    Bill Owens, the father of Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens, the Navy SEAL who died in the operation, accuses the Trump administration of using his son as a political prop in an interview published Sunday in The Miami Herald.

    “Don’t hide behind my son’s death to prevent an investigation,” he said of the mission, which was intended for servicemen to gather laptops, cellphones and intelligence about al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula but morphed into a fiery battle that killed Owens and several civilians.

    “I want an investigation. … The government owes my son an investigation,” he told The Herald, adding that he couldn’t bear to meet President Donald Trump when he came to pay his respects as Ryan’s casket was carried off the military plane.

     

     

     

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/yemen-seal-investigation_us_58b320eee4b060480e08c86e?

     

     

    Tom Kociemba